Unless there’s a touchdown on the first possession of overtime, both teams get a chance to have the ball under the overtime rules put in place for this season.
Only one team got the ball in Tennessee. Vick Ballard made a remarkable twisting dive at the end of a 16-yard run following a screen pass from Andrew Luck to end the game less than five minutes into the extra session. The play was subjected to a long review, but the word finally came back that Ballard’s acrobatic effort was a touchdown and the Colts were 19-13 winners.
Titans fans will likely rue a 47-yard missed field goal by Rob Bironas in the second half, which would ignore the fact that the team had plenty of other chances to get points over the course of the game and couldn’t get it done. Chris Johnson ran for 99 yards and Matt Hasselbeck was 22-of-29 for 236 yards, but they didn’t get enough of them when they weren’t being thwarted by some ill-timed penalties.
It also didn’t help that the Titans defense, which had played extremely well until that point, couldn’t get off the field when Luck took the Colts 80 yards in 14 plays to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Luck’s play wasn’t great throughout the game and he threw a pretty bad interception, but he was sharp on that drive and made a big throw to Reggie Wayne in overtime. His numbers at the end — 26-of-37 for 297 yards to go with the touchdown and the pick — tell that story pretty well. Donald Brown did most of the heavy lifting on that overtime drive and he finished with 80 yards as part of a second straight strong rushing effort for Indianapolis.
The win leaves the Colts at 4-3 with a big game at home against Miami, which has the same record after routing the Jets, next week. The winner will be one of the unlikelier members of the playoff hunt at the start of the second half of the season.